If you are like many smartphone or tablet owners, chances are you’ve checked your email, looked at a social media page or two, logged into your banking app to check your current bank balance and played a game or two — all within the last few minutes. While smartphones and tablets are amazing pieces of technology, it is also pretty easy to become overly dependent on them. If you feel like you are spending too much time on your mobile devices, or your kids, spouse or boss has asked to cut back, it may be more difficult than you realized to curb your tech addiction. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and tricks that can help you get more work done — check out the following ideas:
Quiet moments and breaks in the day are classic times to pick up the phone; instead of reaching for your smartphone during these times, retrain yourself to do a number of other tasks instead. Go for a quick walk around the block, spend five minutes going through a junk drawer, meditate or start a load of dishes or laundry. Come up with as many ideas that sound more fun than idly checking email and then do them.
Think Baby Steps
Getting over a serious addiction to technology can be difficult. While you might be tempted to tell yourself that you will go cold turkey on all social media pages and check your email only at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., it can be hard to keep such severe promises. Instead, start small by keeping your tablet off of the dinner table, and/or keeping your phone in your pocket or purse when you are at a restaurant or coffee date. Then, move up to keeping the phone in another room when you are watching TV or going out for a run. Work up gradually to several hours in a row with no tech time, but don’t get too extreme or it may backfire on you.
Log Your Tech Time
Spend several days logging how much time you spend on your smartphone and tablet — as well as what you are doing each time. You may be unpleasantly surprised to see how much time you spend on Facebook and Twitter or aimlessly surfing the internet, but this is important data to have if you are going to cut back on your technology habits.
Use Technology to Help You Cut Back
Ironically, you can often use the smartphone and tablet that are taking over your life to help reduce your tech habit. Download an app like Moment, which will track how much you are using your devices every day, as well as how many times your check your smartphone. If you are trying to use your phone less often, Moment lets you set daily limits as well as warnings when you go over. You can also find apps like Flipd that will lock your phone after it has been used for a certain amount of time. In addition, use the device itself to help you stay off of it; if you have a Samsung Galaxy S8 plus, you can turn off notifications for a number of things including incoming texts, calls and various updates. Even the most disciplined people can find it hard to ignore a phone that is lighting up or beeping with the promise of some great text from your BFF. Simply tap the gear-shaped icon at the top of the notification bar to get into settings, and then select “lockscreen and security” and then “notifications on lockscreen” and “content on lockscreen” to hide whatever content you wish. The same approach can be used on your tablet to eliminate noisy, intrusive updates and notifications and help you achieve your goal of less tech time.